Why investing in falls prevention across Australia can’t wait
Last week the Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society (ANZFPS) launched the report 'Why investing in falls prevention across Australia can’t wait' at NeuRA. Supported by the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence Prevention of Falls Injuries and the NSW Fall Prevention and Healthy Ageing Network, the report calls for the development of a five-year National Falls Prevention Strategy accompanied by a long-term funding strategy to support its implementation, oversight, ongoing monitoring, and review.
In this report, the ANZFPS proposes five recommendations to government, that if properly implemented, could move the needle on the significant social and economic cost of falls.
- Establish a National Falls Prevention Coordination Group, modelled on the coordinated and nationally funded action in the United States and United Kingdom, adapted for the Australian context and informed by previous initiatives in Australia and New Zealand
- Develop and implement a 5-year national plan for preventing falls that is funded to reach a critical mass of community-dwelling older people and those in residential care
Engage all levels of government and a broad range of sectors, including health and aged care, housing, transport, and planning and development
- Include falls prevention strategies for people across the lifespan and in all settings to maximise benefits
- Greater investment in translational falls prevention research
The event was MC'd by Professor Jane Latimer and we heard from special guest speakers, including Rotarian Mr Bob Barnes, Associate Professor Diana Olsberg who starred in the ABC show Old People's home for 4-year olds and experienced exercise trainer Mrs Sally Castell. Bob shared his life experiences with falls. Diana spoke about loneliness and social isolation as a consequence of falling. Sally guided us towards tangible and practical solutions.
The report highlights the growing issue of falls in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics published that in 2020 there were more than 4 million people in Australia who were 65 years and older. This number is expected to grow by 31% by 2030, and by 55% by 2040.
To prevent further strain on the health system, interventions need to be implemented to reduce the number of falls in Australians.
Professor Kim Delbaere, NeuRA and Professor Cathie Sherrington, Institute for Musculoskeletal Health both spoke to the fact that while fall injuries among older people are a large and growing problem in Australia the research is clear, falls can be prevented and that exercise is a simple, cost-effective means to do this with a quick return on investment by governments.
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST – Advisory Committee & Supporters
The Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society is looking for some help to produce the best possible implementation plan for our falls prevention strategy and to support them in their advocacy.
- attend a round table event to finalise the implementation plan
- share our materials with your networks (via e.g., social media, newsletters)
- advocate alongside us in support of the strategy
- stay informed of the next steps of the strategy
For those who would like to contribute their thoughts already, they are looking at the influences on falls among adults as a dynamic system. The ANZFPS have drafted a systems map to understand the complexity of factors influencing falls, find potential gaps in coverage or duplication of efforts to prevent falls, and identify priorities for intervention and for evaluation.
If you’d like to show your support for our call for urgent and coordinated action on falls prevention, we invite you to nominate how you’d like to help.
Our vision is to lead the way in fall prevention and other healthy ageing initiatives by harnessing expert knowledge and being collaborative in all we do.
We work closely with researchers, policy makers, health practitioners and community service providers in the development and promotion of healthy ageing services and programs with a focus on preventing falls and fall-related injury.
NSW Fall Prevention and Healthy Ageing Network 2023 Annual Falls Forum
Friday 26th May, 2023, Wesley Conference Centre, Sydney
Call for Abstracts for Best Practice Initiatives and Higher Degree Researchers OPEN NOW!
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NSW Falls Prevention Network
Neuroscience Research Australia
PO Box 1165
Randwick NSW 2031
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